Would You Consider a Co-CEO?

Are you someone who prefers being in charge, and is comfortable handling all the responsibilities of being CEO, or are you someone who could benefit from sharing the load with another capable leader? Author Gwen Moran explores this topic in her article, “Are Co-CEOs A Great Idea Or A Total Disaster?”

It turns out, having Co-CEOs can work smoothly for some organizations, but only under the right circumstances. In her new article for Fast Company, Moran looks at some of the essentials that make up a successful Co-CEO partnership.

First, figure out the motivation for such a partnership. Are both parties on the same page? Will they both be comfortable sharing the spotlight? Are their communication styles compatible? The two leaders need to understand the reasons for this undertaking, and how their strengths complement one another.

Next, they need to assign responsibilities, and figure out who is best at handling what. How much input will be necessary from one leader before the other makes a decision? If there is a disagreement, will there be another party who steps in, such as a board of advisors, to help sort it out?

“If your power structure has one person consistently making these decisions while the other handles more of a support role, one co-CEO may end up being that in name only,” writes Moran. “Eventually, that’s bound to lead to resentment.”

Once duties are established, these roles need to be clearly communicated to employees. They need to be aware of who handles what, but also that both Co-CEOs are to be respected equally. In some cases, when employees sense discord between the two, or an unequal dynamic, they will try to pit them against each other. There must always be solidarity between the two Co-CEOs, and they must always be able to count on each other’s full support.

To read more, see Moran’s full article from Fast Company.

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